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Wayne County attorney heading to trial in embezzlement cases, faces new charge

CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for June 7, 2023
CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for June 7, 2023 02:38

(CBS DETROIT) - A Wayne County attorney will stand trial for allegedly embezzling millions of dollars from the late Gretchen Carhart Valade and another client.

David Sutherland, of Grosse Pointe Farm, is charged with one count of conducting a criminal enterprise, two counts of embezzlement of $100,000 or more, and one count of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult of $100,000 or more. According to the Michigan Attorney General's office, Sutherland was bound over on those charges after appearing for a preliminary hearing on Monday. The court found "sufficient evidence" after hearing from six witnesses, according to a press release.

"Handling a client's finances with integrity and thoughtful consideration is one of the most important responsibilities of a trustee," said Attorney General Dana Nessel. "When the trustee's actions serve to enrich themselves at the expense of their client, my Financial Crimes Division will intervene." 

Officials say Sutherland allegedly used his position as a personal attorney and trustee for Valade and embezzled millions from her personally as well as her revocable and irrevocable trusts.

Valade died in late December at age 97.

Officials say after the hearing, Sutherland faced a new charge of embezzlement of $100,000 or more in connection with another client, the William Cardinal Trust. He was arraigned in that case.

A circuit court arraignment on the Valade case is set for June 26, while a probable cause conference on the Cardinal case is scheduled for July 26.

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